Brood (Seren) March 2017

Brood is the new pamphlet from poet Rhian Edwards. Winner of all three categories of Wales Book of the Year in 2013 for her debut poetry collection, Clueless Dogs, Bridgend-born and based Edwards is known for her dazzling performance style and her vivid, often acutely personal poems.

The new pamphlet opens with ‘Birds of Rhiannon’ introducing us (via a nod to the famous medieval Mabinogion story where magic birds, said to bring people back from the dead, console the heartbroken Celtic princess Rhiannon) to a darkly resonant tone that echoes from the myth:

Before I was mortal, I was haloed
in feathers, my trinity of familiars;
whose birdsong was legend, serenading
the dead from their dreams,
lullabying the living to torpor…

The centre of this new pamphlet is a ten-part poem, ‘Pied Margot’ based on the mnemonic rhyme for groups of magpies ‘One for Sorrow, Two for Joy…’. This long poem charts the progression of a troubling relationship from infatuation to disillusionment, alongside the birth of a much-loved daughter.

There are unflinching descriptions of arduous pregnancy, as well as miscarriage, that remind us that this stage of a woman’s life can be as risky as a battlefield. Also, any parent will recognise the irritated joy of ‘Kiss’ where a child becomes an expert at ‘delaying the damnation of bedtime.’

Meanwhile, birds are at all times present: hovering, chattering, casting their shadows, they are both tricksters and familiars in these hypnotic, spell-like poems. Welsh artist Paul Edwards has provided some beautiful charcoal drawings of magpies inspired by this atmospheric sequence, which feature throughout the pamphlet.

Other poems feature Gulls, Red Kites and ‘The Universal Doodle’ of a murmuration cloud of starlings. This pamphlet Brood is an apt follow-up to Clueless Dogs and leaves us eager for the poet’s next full collection.

You can order a copy here:

Clueless Dogs (Seren) April 2012

Winner of Wales Book of the Year 2013,
Winner of the Roland Mathias Prize for Poetry 2013
Winner of Wales Book of the Year People’s Choice 2013
Shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2012.

You can order copies of Rhian’s first collection of poems Clueless Dogs from the Seren website by clicking on the link.

“Poetry has never sounded so alive” - Cerys Matthews

“An astounding Welsh poet with performances that get you in the emotional gut…” – Ian McMillan on The Verb, Radio 3

“…Edwards is a strikingly confident new voice.” - Poetry Wales

“It’s an extremely interesting collection…” - New Welsh Review

“One of her greatest abilities is her verb choice; a rarer gift these days than, perhaps, it should be.” - Planet Magazine
Clueless Dogs is the first collection of poetry by Rhian Edwards. Already a noted performer of both her songs and poetry, this book confirms her startling talent.

Poems like ‘The Welshman Who Couldn’t Sing’ chronicle a fraught childhood in Bridgend, south Wales, where the sensitive child escapes through imaginative games of ‘Playing Dead’ and ‘Broken Lifeboat’. Full of verve and humour, with a spiky syntax featuring hard-edged consonants, her language has a winning honesty and intensity. Later poems chronicle teenage lusts, student rivalries, damaged peers and tense situations. Although the author doesn’t flinch from ruthless depictions in which we are often implicated by her use of the second person ‘You’, there is an underlying sweetness, an elegiac thread most evident in the poems of maturity, like ‘Back to Bed’ ,’Safe’ ,’The Wrong Season’ full of both the sensual rapture of love and a clear-eyed realization of its inevitable disappointments. Witness the poet in performance and it is impossible not to hear her distinctive tones when reading her work. Clueless Dogs is a brave and beautiful first book.

Although her poems are accessible – and I would strongly recommend them to anyone who thinks they don’t like poetry – and supremely crafted they are also inhabited by something far rarer, an unerring ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. – Time Out Magazine

“The Unique voice lies in the music of the language, a distinctly un-English sound, often in a minor key, elegiac but with unexpected leaps of the imagination. Against a Celtic bass-line, she sets her own modern turn of phrase and sense of humour” – Hugo Williams

“Rhian Edwards makes the language sing and dance. Join her campaign for the liberation of poetry from all that is dry, stuffy, insincere and boring…” – Christopher Reid

…She is a dazzling performer, at ease with the language, sometimes slangy, sometimes lyrical, with undertones of South Welsh speech. Her warmth and humour will make her a popular reader – Gillian Clarke

Parade the Fib (Tall Lighthouse) 2008

Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice autumn 2008.

It is no longer in print.

Other Publications & Poetry Magazines

July 2017: Poetry at Sangam (“This Was The Spring”, “It Is”, “The Addiction Counsellor”, “Prodigal Audience”)

August 2016: The Spectator (Pied Margot Part 5: “Jocale”)

July 2016: Planet Magazine (Pied Margot Part 3: “The Reckoning”)

June 2015: Poetry Wales (“The Birds of Rhiannon”, “The Bird of the Century” & Pied Margot Parts 1 and 2)

April 2015: Scintilla 18 (“The Gulls are Mugging”, “The Universal Doodle” & “Return of the Native”)

July 2014: Wales Arts Review (“Beyond the Perforation”)

November 2013: New Statesman (“The Human Wall”)

August 2013: Planet (Review of Barkin!)

May 2013: New Welsh Review (“My Mary Jane”)

February 2013: Blown Magazine (“Going Back for Light”)

January 2013: The Prague Revue (“Coldsores”)

December 2012: The Spectator (“Fourth Floor”)

November 2012: The Lampeter Review (“Net Curtain”, “The Mask” & “House Share”)

October 2012: Anthem Journal (“No Place”, “Nyctophobia”, “Unmentionable” & “Shardeloes Road”)

September 2012: The Same Magazine (“Steed”, “The Woman Downstairs”, “Ritual”, “After”)

June 2012: The Guardian (Poem of the Week) (“Fruition”)

May 2012: The Guardian (the Saturday Poem) (“Parents Evening”)

May 2012: Launch of Clueless Dogs (Seren)

April 2012: The Spectator (“Alison”)

April 2012: Lung Jazz (Cinnamon anthology of young British poets) (“Hunch”)

Nov 2011: The Raconteur (“Skype”, “Penetrative Discourse” & Antithesis”)

Nov 2011: Planet Magazine (“Parents Evening”)

March 2011: Times Literary Supplement (“Safe”)

Jan 2011: Poetry Wales (“The Petrifying Well” & “Traveller”)

Aug 2010: The Spectator (“The Wrong Season”)

July 2010: Borderlines Magazine (“The Hatching”)

June 2010: Poetry Review (“Pinchbeck”)

June 2010: Arete (“Broken Lifeboat’, “Playing Dead” & “Outcast Hours”)

Sept 2009: Stand Magazine (“Sheer”, “Hitched”, “Back to Bed” & “Old Friends”)

July 2009: The Spectator (“The Pest Controller”)

Feb 2009: The Spectator (“Petra”)

Oct 2008: Poetry London (“The Action”)

Sept 2008: The London Magazine (“Marital Visit”)

May 2008: Launch of Parade the Fib (Tall Lighthouse)

April 2008: The Spectator (“Bridgend”)

July 2007: The Spectator (“The Cry”)

July 2007: The Delinquent Magazine (“The Welshman Who Couldn’t Sing” & “Crossed”)

May 2007: The Fix Magazine (“Clapham Birds”)

Jan 2007: Pen Pusher (“Eyeful”)

Nov 2005: The Wolf Magazine (“Penetrative Discourse”)

Jan 2005: Poetry Wales (“Sea of Her” & “Unmentionable”)

Oct 2004: Exhibition of poem at the Royal Festival Hall over International Poetry Week (“Unmentionable”)